Frequently Asked Questions
What is a House?
A House or Fragrance House is, in the most simple terms, an entity that manufactures fragrances under a particular name. Examples of Fragrance Houses include Chanel, Guerlain, and Dior. You can thing of the term as a fancy synonym for brand.
What is a Fragrance Family?
Fragrance Families are groups of fragrances with similar qualities or characteristics. Over the years there have been many attempts to organize fragrances into distinct groups based on their dominant traits. Some of the oldest families include Citrus, Chypre and Floral. There are many classification systems in use today including a system devised by the Société Française des Parfumeurs. The categorization system we use was devised by British fragrance expert Michael Edwards in the 1980s. We have experimented with many other categorization systems but have found none that equal the usefulness or scope of that devised by Edwards. By browsing our selection by family, you can see how fragrances are related to one another. Alternatively, if you have identified a fragrance that you enjoy, navigating to that fragrance and clicking the Fragrance Family link will take you to that fragrance's family page where you will be able to discover related scents.
What are Concentrations?
Fragrances are produced at different concentrations or strengths—that is, different ratios of aromatic oils to ethanol/ethanol and water. Some common concentrations are eau de parfum and eau de toilette. Defining concentrations can be somewhat difficult as there currently exists no industry standard governing what fragrance concentrations actually mean. Below you will find a brief overview of the four most common concentrations. For a more detailed look at fragrance concentrations and their history, click here.
Extrait (also referred to as Parfum, Extrait de Parfum, Pure Perfume, Perfume and Perfume Extract) contains anywhere between fifteen percent and forty percent aromatic compounds with the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) estimating that extraits most commonly contain about 20% aromatic compounds. Extraits tend to be the longest-lasting concentration. This is, in part due to their structure and formula. Extraits are built to be more focused on a fragrance's base notes: the longest-lasting notes in the composition. It should be noted that extraits are not necessarily diffusive and strong. These traits depend far more on the materials used. If a fragrance is subtle in other concentrations, it will almost certainly be subtle in an extrait.
Eau de parfum is a fragrance concentration consisting of approximately ten percent to twenty percent aromatic compounds, with IFRA estimating that the majority fall directly in the middle at fifteen percent. Eau de parfums differ from extraits in that there is far more focus placed on the comparatively more refreshing heart and top notes. Simply put, eau de parfums offer a middle grund between extrait and eau de toilette, combining the strength of an extrait with the ease of use of an eau de toilette spray.
Eau de toilette is a fragrance concentration consisting of between five percent and fifteen percent aromatic compounds with the majority of fragrances fall somewhere in the middle with an average of about ten percent aromatic compounds. Taking its name from an old French word for fabric, toile, eau de toilettes tend to focus on the crisp, effervescent top notes and heart of a fragrance.
Eau de cologne is undoubtedly the most confusing of the perfume concentrations. The first fragrance to bear the name eau de cologne was created in 1709 in Köln (Cologne), Germany by Jean Marie Farina. The original eau de cologne was a refreshing blend of bergamot, neroli and orange blossom favored by such figures as Napoleon Bonaparte. Over the years many houses began producing their own version of eau de cologne and thus the term eau de cologne came to refer to a style of fragrance chiefly composed of citrus essences and products obtained from the orange tree (neroli, orange blossom, bigarade). In modern times, the term eau de cologne has come to refer to both a concentration (a light and refreshing concentration containing between two percent and five percent aromatic compounds) and to men's fragrances in general (American men have been averse to the idea of wearing perfumes).
Where Are the Men's Fragrances?
As industry veterans, the concept of gendered fragrance is something that we have wrestled with for many years. When we started Fumerie, one of our goals was to work to correct the assumption that any given fragrance is necessarily masculine or feminine. As such, we took a bold step and chose not to label any of our fragrances one way or the other. We believe that fragrances should be appreciated on their own terms, separated from a binary system of categorization based on the outdated premise that men and women should wear certain fragrances. Our own beliefs about what is masculine and what is feminine are entirely culturally based. For instance, it may surprise some men to learn that the aroma of rose is considered the height of masculinity in the Middle East. Moreover, many lines have begun to abandon the practice of designating fragrances masculine or feminine and instead market them as shared or unisex fragrances. It is our hope that you will follow your nose and choose your fragrance based upon what moves you and not what an advertising agency has arbitrarily decided. We encourage you to follow the example of men like Charlie Chaplin (who wore Guerlain's Mitsouko), Mick Jagger & Errol Flynn (both of whom wore—and in Jagger's case, continues to wear—Chanel's Cuir de Russie), Clark Gable & Charles Boyer (both of whom wore Coty's Chypre) and Sean Connery (who wears Guerlain's Jicky) who proudly wore and continue to wear fragrances marketed to women. Take it from us, there's a whole expansive world of fragrances waiting that most men are afraid to explore. How about you?
How Do I Find a Fragrance?
It surprises many people to find out that most of the fragrances they have worn fall into the same one or two families. Our tastes are complicated and shaped by our past experiences but, with few exceptions, there is generally a discernible pattern. If you do not know which family you are drawn to, please visit our FIND A FRAGRANCE page and fill out the form. André will get back to within 48 hours with a detailed portrait of your tastes and a list of recommendations.
Is Ordering from Fumerie Secure?
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Can I Pay with PayPal?
Fumerie Parfumerie does accept payments via PayPal. Unfortunately, the platform on which we have built our site makes fully integrating PayPal impossible. As such, PayPal orders will need to be submitted using our PayPal Order Form. To place an order and pay with PayPal, click here.